By Kirk Jackson
The first semifinal of the Super Six Tournament will finally take place Saturday May 14th, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Ca.
A great matchup pitting contrasting styles against one another as Andre Ward faces Arthur Abraham with a spot in the finals on the line.
Ward enters this Super Six semifinal bout possessing many skills and advantages.
The difference in hand speed and lateral movement will immediately be apparent from opening bell.
Abraham Photo Credit: Marco Krause / Team Sauerland
Cat like reflexes and a blue collar mentality are also present with the young fighter from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Not just relying on speed, Ward is a versatile fighter, displaying the ability to effectively fight on the inside as he showed against Super Six participant Allan Green.
Earlier in his career, Ward demonstrated the ability to move around on his feet, throw quick pot shots, counterpunch, and showed his ability to throw combinations like his childhood friend and fellow Super Six participant Andre Dirrell.
Speaking of Dirrell, this is an important thing to keep in mind because Dirrell had success against Abraham in his disqualification victory last year.
Before the disqualification took place however, Dirrell was pitching out a dominant performance and wonderful display of pugilistic excellence.
Leading on all scorecards, the bout was abruptly ended after Dirrell suffered a punch from Abraham when he slipped to the canvas in the 11th round, resulting in a disqualification for Abraham.
Amidst all the controversy from how the fight ended, the blueprint for beating Abraham was set.
Combination punching, accurate counter shots, moving around the ring, all key components leading to Dirrell’s success and Ward may have to emulate the game plan to be successful.
Contrasting from Ward’s style showcased in earlier fights, most recently, critics of Ward compare his fighting style to Bernard Hopkins.
The comparison is with the defensive fighting approach, which may consists of throwing one or two punches at a time, fighting close in the trenches, clinching, rough house tactics which may include head butting and an elbow here and there.
Any comparisons to Hopkins should be a good thing, considering he is a future first ballot hall of famer.
Entering Saturday’s showdown, the jab will be the most important punch of the fight.
Abraham is known for having a strong jab and an authoritative punch to follow. Just ask Jermain Taylor or Edison Miranda about the Armenian’s punching power.
This will be important in trying to control Ward. Abraham has to deter Ward and keep him from establishing his game plan. He cannot allow Ward to set his pace and find comfort inside the ring.
Abraham has a strong, compact physique, which serves his boxing style.
Defensive minded for the early rounds, Abraham typically uses his arms to shield himself from punches, similar to the cover up defense Joshua Clottey and Winky Wright use.
Abraham consistently employs his jab, and as the fight progresses and he has analyzed his opponent, he presses the attack.
Although Ward has certain advantages in this match up, Abraham is a former champion and no push over.
Expect Ward to out- work Abraham and use his overall speed and versatility to his advantage.
While he does not have freakish knockout power like Abraham, he does possess enough sting to have affect on Abraham and don’t be surprised if Abraham goes down from an accumulation of punches.
This will be a grueling fight, and a dirty affair can be expected as well.
Both fighters also have a history or bad reputation of dirty fighting.
Ward is accused of questionable tactics against Sakio Bika, Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green, while Abraham is accused in his encounters against Jermain Taylor, Edison Miranda, Andre Dirrell and a few others.
To add to that Abraham is coming off an unimpressive streak of fights and will be extremely desperate for a victory, especially over a quality opponent.
With that in mind, Ward has the savvy of a well experienced general inside the ring. The ability to slip punches, shift his shoulders, land accurate hooks and upper cuts to the body while also displaying precision upstairs as well.
Versatility is extremely important and Ward will continue to show his pedigree boxing from the inside and outside, on route to earning a tough victory over Abraham, advancing to the Super Six finals.